28 June 2007

No More Pencils, No More Books...

Woo Hoo!! Today is my last day of school for 9 1/2 weeks!! Oh yeah!

I have so many wonderful sewing plans. Unfortunately, I also have to paint the entire first floor of my house, clean and rearrange my garden and my Mom's garden and make curtains for 3 windows. Oh well, I guess it's penance for having so much glorious sewing time this summer.

I have been making progress on Vogue 8319 (one of my many sewing projects lined up for the summer). The dress and its lining only need to be hemmed. The jacket needs the lining inserted, hemming and the buttons. I hope to have photos soon.

27 June 2007

Fabric Mart is my Kryptonite

I got an email from Fabric Mart. It said they were having a sale. I looked. I bought. 'Nuff said.

Dark coral stretch cotton twill

Lime rayon cotton stretch woven

Orange paisley rayon/spandex novelty knit

Dark chocolate silk charmeuse

Chocolate rayon/spandex novelty knit

Beige & cocoa brown silk herringbone suiting

20 June 2007

I Can See the Finish Line

Not much to post about in terms of sewing this week. My classes have their final exams, so I am a marking fiend. Over the next few days, not only do I have 86 major final exams to mark, but I also have to calculate final grades, produce report cards and volunteer at graduation. This is always such a busy, hectic time. However, looking on the bright side, I am officially off on summer break June 29th until September 4th - 9 1/2 weeks of uninterupted, blissful sewing time!!! During the summer, I hope to have a ton of new projects to post about, so stay tuned.

P.S. I have started working on Vogue 8319, so I hope to post some progress in the near future.

17 June 2007

Summertime Sewingtime

Carolyn noticed that I have less than 2 weeks left until my summer break. Oh yeah, baby!! She also inquired as to my summer sewing plans. Although I haven't fleshed them all out yet, here is a small preview of the projects calling my name the loudest:

Vogue 8178 - I have been wanting to make this dress for a very long time now - I will be using an olive brown linen for this one.

Vogue 8319
- As many of you know, I have a thing for 60s designs, so how can I not make this one? I have a gorgeous yellow/orange silk suiting for this one.

Vogue 2903 - I also have a passion for 50s designs. I have adored this dress since I first laid eyes on it. I have a beautiful chocolate/white floral cotton that is screaming to be made into this (unfortunately, the fabric is a tad heavy and since this dress calls for 5 m of fabric, I may have to reassess).

Simplicity 3874 - This will make a great outfit for work in the fall. I have a peach circle print silky for the dress and a coordinating peach linen for the jacket.

I have a bunch of original vintage patterns that are vying for my attention too. I am also desperate for some new shorts and capris for the summer. Oh, and I need a few, toss-em-on, look-cute, feel-comfortable, schlepping-to-the-grocery-store dresses. I guess I have my work cut out for me - actually, I wish my work was cut out for me, then I could just start sewing! :)

14 June 2007

Flat Felled vs French Seams

Sheila asked an excellent question in the comments. She wanted to know the difference between a flat felled seam and a french seam.

The major difference in my opinion, is how the seam looks on the right side of the garment. A flat felled seam shows stitching on the right side (think of the seams on the side of a pair of jeans), while a french seam does not (it is found in many high end sheer garments). Thus, a flat felled seam tends to be found in sportier, more casual garments and a french seam is usually found in expensive evening clothes. Both types of seams are extremely sturdy and stand up to wear well. However, it can be difficult to get either seam to look great if the seam is highly curved - so I tend to use them for straight or slightly curved seams. I love both types of seams as I don't have a serger (yet) and it finishes off the inside of my clothing so that no raw fabric edges are visible.

Below, I have created a tutorial. I sure hope it makes sense - let me know if I have totally confounded y'all.

Flat Felled Seam
  1. Sew the two pieces of fabric, right sides together, with a 5/8" seam.
  2. Trim one side of the seam allowance down to 1/4".
  3. Fold the 5/8" seam allowance over and around the 1/4" seam allowance, completely enclosing the 1/4" seam allowance with the 5/8" seam allowance.
  4. Stitch down as close to edge as possible.
  5. This encases all raw edges inside the seam.
French Seam
  1. Sew the two pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, with a 5/8" seam.
  2. Trim both sides of the seam allowance to 1/4".
  3. Press open the seam.
  4. Fold the fabric, right sides together, along the seam and press.
  5. Stitch 3/8" from the fold.
  6. This encases all the raw edges inside the seam.

10 June 2007

Simplicity 4045 - Coat

Pattern: Simplicity 4045 - view E - coat

Size: This pattern comes in sizes 6 to 14 - I made size 8.

Fabric: Green paisley from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo
Comments: I had originally purchased this fabric for another project. However, the cocoa background colour matched so perfectly with the linen/rayon fabric that I used for the dress that I knew I had to make the coordinating jacket. The cut of this jacket is very boxy and reminds me of a lab coat (even though I am a chemist, I have never been a fan of lab coats - I'm already geeky enough). The belt helps nip the jacket in at the waist, but I still prefer a more shapely coat/jacket. Despite the lack of curves, I still really like this jacket - I think mainly because I adore the fabric. This will be a wonderful spring/fall outfit.

There is one last thing I wanted to mention. This coat is unlined (which I prefer for most of my warm weather clothes), so I flat felled all the seams to keep the inside nice and neat. Long live flat felling!!

Conclusion: This is a very cute jacket and although I am very happy with the way it turned out, I probably won't make it again. I prefer a jacket that emphasizes the waist and I have about a bazillion other patterns crying out to be made.

9 June 2007

Simplicity 4045 - Dress

Pattern: Simplicity 4045 - view A - dress

Size: This pattern comes in sizes 6 to 14 - I made size 6 in the bust and waist and expanded out to a 10 for the hips (I do not like a 'too clingy' bias cut dress - it tends to emphasize scary things on my lower half).

Fabric: Cocoa linen/rayon blend from Timmel Fabrics.

Project Photo
Comments: I was looking for a spring/summer dress to make for work. Since I had already made the skirt and had the pattern out, I figured I would give the dress a try. The cut and style of the dress, although quite simple, really appealed to me. I really like raglan sleeves - I find they give me a broader line across my shoulders, which helps to balance out my hips.

Putting the dress together was easy - no need to even look at the instructions. I added a decorative stitch around the sleeve cuffs to jazz the dress up a bit (and to test out some of the stitches on my new machine). As with any bias cut garment, I allowed the dress to hang for 2 days before hemming the skirt.

Conclusion: Although I like this dress, I don't think I'll be making another one - I have so many other patterns that are screaming my name right now. However, I do plan on making the top in the near future.

5 June 2007

Simplicity 4045 - Skirt

Pattern: Simplicity 4045 - view C - skirt

Size: This pattern comes in sizes 6 to 14 - I made size 8.

Fabric: Chocolate brown linen/rayon blend from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo:
Comments: I wanted a skirt to wear with the striped turquoise eyelet top and this pattern called my name. The skirt has pleats front and back which keep the waist and upper hip smooth and fitted. There is a side zipper (I chose to do use an invisible zipper as I like the clean line it provides) and a very small waistband.

Conclusion: I like this skirt - it is simple and easy. However, if I make it again, I will taper in a fair bit at the waist. The hips fit perfectly, but the skirt gapes at the waist, since I have a 12" difference between my waist and hips.

3 June 2007

Retro Inspiration

Wazoodle has been having a flash sale for the last week. I bought some of the wicking knits to make T-shirts for my husband & me. However, I am most excited about the two cottons that I purchased to make a couple of retro sundresses.

Vogue 2960 - an amazing 50s sundress.

This is a 100% cotton quilting fabric. It is very reminiscent of the fabric used for the modelled dress on the envelope cover. I almost feel like I should buy a pair of dainty white gloves to wear with this one!

Vogue 2267
- another 50s outfit - the sundress and bolero are just adorable.

Ever since this fabric was posted on the 'New Arrivals" page at Wazoodle, it has been calling my name. Until this morning I wasn't sure what it wanted to be - I just knew I would likely need to have some. When I saw it was part of the flash sale, at a reduced price, I could resist no longer. I have always liked this Vogue pattern so it seemed like a match made in heaven (although I do reserve the right to change my mind!)

2 June 2007

Butterick 4549

Pattern: Butterick 4549 - I made view A.

: This pattern comes in sizes 8 to 22 - I made size 8.

Fabric: Turquoise striped eyelet from Fabricland

Project Photo
Comments: The first time I saw this pattern I fell in love with view A and view D. This time around, I made up view A. This type of top is perfect for my work environment - I cannot wear sleeveless tops, so these small sleeves are perfect. The cap sleeves cover my shoulders but are still cool when the temperature in my room gets up to 32 C (90 F) like it did last Thursday.

View A has a slit neck with three buttons that have button loop closures - however, these are not needed to enter and exit the top since there is a side zipper (for which I used an invisible zipper). The bottom of the top is finished nicely with slits at either side. The bust region is slightly gathered and attached to an empire midriff. The empire line is very slim through the abdomen and waist so there is no maternity wear confusion. For someone like me, with fairly short legs, this is a very flattering line. The only change I will make to this top the next time I make it will be to add buttons to close up the slit neck a bit more. It is a tad revealing for school - although I tend to err on the side of modesty.

This top is well drafted and goes together easily. I barely used the instructions so I can't really comment on how good or bad they are - the few bits I did read made sense, so I assume the rest was decent too.

Conclusion: I absolutely adore this top and I cannot wait to make other version (or 12) of it. I am even considering lengthening it to create a dress. Now, all I need is some more fun and funky fabric - you'd think with over 600 m of fabric I'd have something appropriate, but I'm not feeling the vibe from anything in my stash.